Internationally benchmarked : comparing the common core state standards to the Singapore mathematics framework
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The Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English language arts were released in June of 2010 and have been adopted by a majority of U.S. states. The authors of these standards have claimed that they are internationally benchmarked -- that is, that they are as rigorous, focused, and coherent as the standards and expectations used in high-performing countries -- but have not provided evidence to back up these claims. Singapore, whose students have scored at the top of recent international assessments, is frequently touted as a leader in mathematics education. To test the claims of international benchmarking for the Common Core, this paper uses the methodology of the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum to compare the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics to the Singapore Mathematics Framework in terms of rigor, focus, and coherence. The Common Core State Standards and the Singapore Mathematics Framework do call for similar levels of conceptual understanding, mathematical reasoning, and problem-solving. However, the content expectations outlined by the Common Core are somewhat more rigorous than those outlined by the Singapore Mathematics Framework.